One of the most important lessons Matco Tools distributor Kevin Vernon took to tool sales is making it a point to thank customers for their business. He sometimes sends “thank you” notes with free pizzas. He thinks that doing something out of the ordinary to please customers creates a better impression than cutting prices.
Cut the price, and the customer will expect you to do it every time, Vernon notes. Give a gift, on the other hand, and the customer genuinely appreciates you. “I think ‘thank yous’ that aren’t tool-related are more valuable,” he says. “They know that you’re grateful for the business they give you,” he says.
Unlike many tool dealers, Vernon pays attention to the specific snacks and refreshments customers like. While he has some staples on his truck, such as energy drinks and beef jerky, he gets products that he knows certain customers like.
“How do you hug your customer?” Vernon asks, rhetorically.
One of the most popular treats has been cake balls dipped in chocolate icing. Vernon’s wife, Aleks, came up with the idea. Vernon didn’t think technicians would like these, but he was pleasantly surprised. “It took off like there was no tomorrow,” he says. “Everybody and their brother was coming out to get one of Aleks’ cake pops. It grew our business by leaps and bounds!” They are kept in the small truck refrigerator.
When Aleks went back to work full-time, his mother and grandmother took over the baking.
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